Nancy Pauli: Longtime KW Dixieland Jazz Club manager remembered with a wake in New Orleans

The Kitchener-Waterloo Dixieland Jazz Club held a lively New Orleans-style vigil on Saturday in remembrance of its longtime manager, Nancy Pauli. Pauli died in February at the age of 81.

“We wanted it to be a huge, carefree New Orleans-style party, which she would have loved,” said Wayne Pauli, Nancy’s husband.

Musicians perform at the Kitchener-Waterloo Dixieland Jazz Club on May 28, 2022. (Dan Lauckner/CTV Kitchener)

Attendees said they remembered Nancy’s cheerful spirit and how she always helped improve the mood of any party.

“A very loving, warm person who loved to have fun. If you really knew her, you loved her,” said Dan Rudow, manager of the Kitchener-Waterloo Dixieland Jazz Club.

Nancy was also a lover of Dixieland jazz music. Her friends said she was often first and last on the dance floor.

“Getting up at nine in the morning for the first event and being the last to go to bed and having people back for after parties and things like that. It’s amazing how much fun she could have,” said Rudow.

Photos of Nancy Pauli are displayed at her wake on May 28, 2022. (CTV Kitchener)

Nancy and Wayne immediately knew they shared a love for the musical genre when they met in 1995. They were married on the stage of a jazz festival three years later.

The couple have spent 25 years traveling to festivals around the world, including at least 15 trips to Nancy’s favorite city of New Orleans.

“We used to dress up in our silly costumes on Friday mornings and go to the parade down Bourbon Street. Nancy still had her mug in hand, with a beer, and we walked down Bourbon Street to the park and partied all day. She loved it,” Wayne Pauli said.

“It’s amazing how much fun she could have,” a friend said of Nancy Pauli. (CTV Kitchener)

“It was his passion in life to listen to this music and hang out with people and just have the music community with these people,” said Mark Pauli, Nancy’s son-in-law.

The couple also ran the KW Dixieland Jazz Club for over two decades. This allowed them to share their love of music with local residents, while attracting new artists every week.

“Most were from Toronto, but we have a trombonist here today from Ottawa. We have musicians from the United States,” said Wayne Pauli.

“She was the biggest jazz fan anyone ever knew. That’s what they did every Saturday afternoon,” Mark Pauli said.

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